In a similar story to their last matchup, the Bucks took care of business vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. When it was all said and done, they rolled over them with a 119-98 victory Saturday night at Fiserv Forum.
In his first game back home at Fiserv Forum in what seemed like an eternity, Giannis Antetokounmpo had no trouble finding his groove. He quickly scored in a majority of ways, both on drives and some nifty spinning fades. That’d continue to be the trend of the game. Put together the equation of his nine first quarter points and and add in Eric Bledsoe’s strong start, you’d get a 31-21 Bucks advantage heading into the second quarter.
Shortly into the second, it was announced that Ben Simmons would not return to the game. That meant that the bulk of the Philadelphia offense would run through Joel Embiid. After being held scoreless in the first 12 minutes, he began to strike a tone, putting up eight points in a rather quick amount of time. However, despite his strong second quarter, Milwaukee still held onto a 56-50 halftime advantage.
The third quarter is where the Bucks would inflict the most of their damage, and when it was all said and done, win the basketball game. Giannis Antetokounmpo would start forcing his will on the Philadelphia defense, and they’d eventually crumble. Nobody — whether it was Al Horford or Joel Embiid — could stop the MVP. Moving into the final quarter of play, the Bucks boasted a massive 93-73 lead.
There wasn’t anything Philadelphia could do to get back into this one from that point forward. It wouldn’t be long before Brett Brown waved the white flag, and both he and Budehnholzer inserted the reserves. The Bucks would then coast away with the 119-98 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the highlight of the night for the Bucks. He concluded his evening with a 31 point, 17 rebound, and eight assist performance. Khris Middleton was next on the scoring sheet with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, a stat line he’d really build upon in the second half.
No Sixer had over 17 points on the night. Joel Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shake Milton all had 17 points apiece.
Just another night at the office for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As I mentioned earlier, it seemed as if it’s been forever since we’ve seen the Greek Freak take the floor at Fiserv Forum. He’d end up picking up right where he left off. He’d be the lead man for Milwaukee, tallying 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor, including a pair of threes. The main standout of his performance? Just the versatility of his baskets. He’d score on drives. He’d score in transition. He’d score on fadeaways. He’d score from deep. He’d score from mid-range. He was asked about this growing arsenal of his shots postgame. He mentioned how when the team was in Indiana, he was at the gym working on those shots. Boy, if that doesn’t describe Giannis’ work ethic, I don’t know what does. Just a couple days after the birth of his baby son, he’s in the gym working. Love to see it.
How about that third quarter?
It was sure something special. After the quarter before saw Philadelphia scratch their way back into things, Milwaukee had no difficulty in slamming the door in the third. Giannis mentioned how Bud made it imperative for the Bucks to have that effect, and did they ever. Led by Antetokounmpo himself, Milwaukee had no difficulty opening the flood gates in this one. As mentioned before, the versatility of Antetokounmpo’s shots really impacted the game. Philly tried throwing Embiid at him...didn’t work. They tried throwing Horford at him...didn’t work (we knew that it wouldn’t after last year’s playoffs). Even without scoring the basketball, Antetokounmpo’s presence really credited his other teammates in making contributions, and provided the Bucks a cushion they wouldn’t relent.
The Lopez brothers did a magnificent job of containing Joel Embiid.
We knew there was a strong chance of Joel Embiid making last night a statement game, especially following his comments that he’s the best player in the world after the Brooklyn game. However, that statement game failed to come, thanks to the Lopez brothers. The physicality both of them brought when put on Embiid was really noticed. The Sixers star couldn’t finesse his way down low in the manner that he typically does, and had to come in from the perimeter rather than posting up. Postgame, Eric Bledsoe really emphasized just how big the two Lopez brothers are to this team. He reiterated his belief that Brook is a Defensive Player of the Year Candidate. Giannis also mentioned just how big it is that the Bucks can bring in another strong body like Robin off the bench to reinforce Brook. BroLo and RoLo continue to be a blast for Milwaukee, both on and off the court.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- In addition to scoring 100 points in 80 consecutive games, the Bucks have also tallied 17 straight games of at least 110 points. This is the best in the NBA.
- In Detroit, we saw Marvin Williams check in during garbage time. Last night, Bud would go with him early. He’d end up getting 19 minutes of run, tallying five points on 2-of-4 shooting. It’ll be interesting how Bud uses him in rotations moving forward.
- Last night may not have been the only loss Joel Embiid had while in Milwaukee...
Joel Embiid spotted at Potto tonight. Dudes gonna take 2 Ls this weekend pic.twitter.com/vdeVRI643R— jt (@GrandpaTurner) February 22, 2020
- BAN. THE. REVERSE. CAM. Seriously. It is one of the nastiest things I’ve seen, and I refuse to look at it every time the Bucks have it on the jumbotron. UGH. I continue to be worried that I’ll be featured on it one of these nights.
- Giannis had some very pretty transition baskets last night, including the one where Embiid got him on the and-1. I love watching him on those. Just looks like a gazelle out there. Absolutely incredible and one of the most entertaining aspects of his game.
- Say what you want about the team, but those Philadelphia jerseys are fire. I mentioned it in my last story against Philly, but man, they have an awesome color scheme and set of logos. I just wish they’d feature the Ballin’ Ben Franklin one more.